Housing charities at risk, regulator warns

New housing legislation could force housing associations that are registered charities to lose their charitable status, the Charity Commission has warned.

In a briefing sent out to MPs who are involved in the scrutiny of the Housing and Regeneration Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, the commission said that sections of the bill threatened the independence of charitable housing associations.

The regulator warned that measures in the bill could have serious implications for the 1,400 charitable housing associations.

It is concerned that sections of the bill include setting up a new regulator for social landlords that could set compulsory standards. This could force the associations to undertake activities outside their charitable objects, which would threaten their charitable status, the commission said.

Rosie Chapman, director for policy and effectiveness at the commission, said independence was central to charitable status. “If proposals in the bill undermine their ability to do this, it would have serious implications for charitable housing associations,” she said.

The National Housing Federation, the umbrella body for social housing landlords, warned last month that the bill threatened the independence of charitable housing associations.

It claimed that the bill broke the Compact as it said the Government had failed to carry out a proper consultation with the sector over measures contained within it (Third Sector Online, 10 January).

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